Thursday, May 27, 2010

A One-of-a-Kind 'Reese's Pieces' Replica Delight

This is officially my sister MP's 'cooking' at her finest. Her specialty is toasting a slice of bread, spreading a layer of Nutella, topped with another layer of Peanut Butter and finished off with a few slices of bananas. Her daily breakfast, mid-day snack and for me, tonight's dessert. Special shout out to my homie, LW for introducing her to this one-of-a-kind 'Reese's Pieces' replica delight. We each took a bite out of it and then I realized I should take a photo and blog about it, haha! I think it adds artistic flare ... what do you think?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vancouver Restaurant Awards 2010

Vancouver Magazine just announced their Vancouver Restaurant Awards 2010 and you know what that means? I have a whole new list of restos to try out this year and blog about! Woohoo! Quickly - Restaurant of the year goes to Blue Water Cafe, Best Casual Japanese is Kingyo (yum!) and best Vietnamese restaurant goes to Phnom Penh - hooray!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Royal Red Robin Burger ... and a Free Stack of Onion Rings! Score!

My old favorites at Red Robin used to be the Clucks and Fries and the Whiskey River Chicken burger but this is my new love - The Royal Red Robin Burger. Topped off with a fried egg! Trucker style, I know, but soooooo delicious! With cheddar cheese, bacon and a juicy patty, this is the burger of all burgers. With a side of Caesar salad (instead of the fries or else you'll be REALLY BULL), me eating this burger was a long time coming. Oh, and with a purchase of two entrees, enjoy a free stack of onion rings with an Entertainment Book coupon!! (There are also coupons for $5 off an order of $20 or more! Hooray for VALID coupons!)

Don't mind the mysterious creepster in the background. She was just hungry for some good ol' crispy onion rings with delicious dipping sauces!

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Dearest Persian MA, Don't You Ever Go Away!

Sit back relax, and let Phancouver tell you a little tale. Once upon a time, I met a wonderful Persian princess named MA. MA's daddy was the King. No literally he was a Sultan. (Sultan's Delicious Donair in Coquitlam, check it out, it's REALLY GOOD!!!) K, sorry that was a restaurant plug but back to my story. MA decided to have 5 little piggies over for a Persian feast, SC, PY, RHM and TS but TS couldn't come and missed out big time. =(

Anyhoo, MA decided to try out the Queen's (her mom) delicious recipe for beef kabobs. Ingredients include 700-800 grams of lean ground beef, 1 onion in the grinder, S&P, one cap full of bread crumbs, a dash of turmeric and baking soda, all pounded together by hand and rolled and flattened into perfect long john patties. Because we didn't know how to spark the BBQ (LOL), MA decided to pan fry these babies with chunks of tomatoes and orange peppers for flavor and tenderness.

Using grape seed oil (ooh la la), on medium heat and keeping a close eye on flipping them (wink wink), the patties were fried to Persian perfection. Coming out juicy, colorful and DEFINITELY flavor-filled.

Now, I'll have to interrupt this story because I am drooling too much reminiscing about this freaking awesome meal and have to wipe up my keyboard. OMG - you don't know how often I crave this meal. No matter what time of day it is, or how BULL I am (Bull is a word I use for when I'm REALLY full), I would be ready to eat this meal again. Okay, now on to the sides. WOW. Here you see the basmati rice cooked to a tee with crispy 'tadeek' showing in a nice golden brown. Steamed with a pinch of salt and butter, this rice is good to go on it's own. Our little Persian princess is multi-talented. Yes, that is her home made cucumber yogurt (maast-o-khiar). I just drizzled some on top of everything on my plate - it was SO refreshing! Prepared with 1 English cucumber, yogurt, dried mint, S&P and a few secret herbs, this accompaniment completed the meal. And, we can't forget to add some veggies! A nice spring salad mix with feta cheese and again, home made salad dressing, sure did the trick!

Sprinkled with sumac, nicely plated, and quickly devoured, we were so happily full this night, I just couldn't believe that I ate such a delicious meal. I think I had thirds. Several times during the night I would burst out saying, 'OMG guys, do you remember the meal we just had?' - it was THAT unbelievably mind blowing.

Finishing the night off with some authentic Persian tea, this was a night to remember in Food Fairytale Land. A meal fit for royalty, indeed.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Foodie Goodie Odds & Ends

Look at that presentation - isn't it neat-o? Thanks to MA's awesome kitchenware of course! My lovely tuna and bocconcini bruschetta (diced with olives, roasted red bell peppers and tossed with pesto), Smartfood white cheddar popcorn and gigantic strawberries! A great way to start off the next Persian meal coming up. This one really takes the cake (check back for tomorrow's post!).

These strawberries on steroids were purchased by MA at the local Superstore and not only were they nearly the size of her hand, the flavor was just as big and powerful! The juiciest and sweetest strawberries I have ever had!!!

And lest we forget, I'll always have to comment on some sort of cool gadget I find at her place. This wooden hot pad is so dang cool! Check out what it transforms into! Straight from China, these innovations never cease to amaze me!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Beef It Up Baby!

Dining with my pals AY and AK (woot woot!) is always a hilarious hoot because it's always laughter and fun filled! It was PH's, oops I mean AK's first time having Phnom Penh's famous butter beef and she gave it two thumbs up! Never having raw beef before and being exposed to that dish above, she was a true solider! Why is it called butter beef? I'm told because the butter is slowly kneaded into the beef and marinated for days beforehand. Garnished with a vinegary sauce, lots of cilantro and fried onions, this is one dish not to be reckoned with.

My 2nd time ordering this hot and sour soup with fish and it was delectable! Served with chunks of tomatos, pineapples, and leeks (?), garnished with green and fried onions, this hot soup will have your nose running for sure (well if you're weak like me and can't take spicyness!).

And of course, there is no way you can visit this place without ordering their #35. Filet beef on rice with egg. According to AY, it felt like we ate an entire cow this evening!

Alongside our meals is my favorite drink, lime soda (imagine a carbonated soda with sugar, salt and lime - yum!) and AK's lychee moo moo shake. Just for clarification y'all, their shakes don't taste like milkshakes, think more of like a slush! Give it a whirl!

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Momma's Gonna Knock You Out ... In The Kitchen!

Whoever dares to challenge my momma in the kitchen is for sure going dowwwnnn! One of the reasons why I look forward to the weekends is because she has the time to dedicate her mad culinary skills to cooking these delicious Vietnamese meals! The Phan household smells so darn good, it's out of this world! Her yummy rice noodles in a fresh tomato broth with shrimp, fish balls and short ribs, garnished always with cilantro.

Another delightful treat she made was this yellow bean and pork, spinach dumping, covered in sticky rice. I have no idea what the name of this is - but I just made one right up! It's the perfect thing to eat for breakfast, a snack, or even a few for dinner. My friend JS was quite impressed!

Another item on the menu (which my mom just recently started cooking) are these petite salty pork rolls, made to eat with a bland noodle or rice dish. Hand made and rolled in these mint/basil leaves (am unsure because I didn't see the package but if you know, tell me!), and pan fried to keep all the ingredients held together. mmMMmm, I am one lucky gal!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Unpleasant Experience at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.

My third time coming to the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. and let me tell you, I will not be back. We chose this place mainly because of it's location (we were headed to the Children's Festival after) and because of the entertainment book coupon (which I used in 2009 for my 2nd experience). When we presented the coupon at the time of the bill, the server let us know that there was a sign on the door, stating something to the effect of 'The Entertainment Book printed the coupons without consent from the restaurant, therefore they will not be honored'. Wow. Can someone tell me why the customer has to suffer because of a disagreement and confusion between the book and the restaurant? Was it MY fault that the book was printed without consent? No. Therefore, I feel that the restaurant should suck it up, honor the coupons for 2010 (because really, you are losing my business and I am spreading the word like rapid fire), and work it out with the Entertainment Book for funds lost. It's just ridiculous and the situation was not handled properly. PLUS, the service was REALLY slow and the food wasn't too great either. Seriously made the 4 of us really upset and made our experience unforgettably unpleasant. I emailed the restaurant and the Founder, Dominic Fielden, was nice enough to promptly reply and address my email. Although I found his response quite sincere and apologetic, the issue was not resolved AND he did not offer any type of compensation. So, in conclusion, it STILL really grinds my gears.

Now for a real food review. This evening, we shared the Wild Yukon pizza with double smoked boar bacon, potatoes, provolone cheese, arugula and other veggies and quite honestly it was tasteless. The 2nd Bradner Farm pizza with rosemary lemon chicken, pesto, and veggies alike was much better and actually had flavor.

We also tried a half portion of their beef lasagne with the fig and goat's cheese salad which surprisingly was pretty good. Loaded with mushrooms and meat, the lasagne didn't fail my taste buds but the slice was a tad on the skimpy side.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Don't Hate Because I Got Love for Hamburger Helper

My sister's friend IF introduced us to Hamburger Helper a little while ago, specifically the Beef Stroganoff flavor and I've been hooked since. We cooked it up to bring to lunch and it was super tasty! I know, I know, super processed and not the healthiest thing, but for an instant packaged meal, not bad! All you have to add is the meat, milk and anything else and voila! In this case, I cooked the 'Cheddar Cheese Melt' with ground turkey and added some mushrooms, carrots and more pasta! Makes for a delicious lunch, I tell ya! Check out all of the other flavors here!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thai Cafe, Unfortunately Did Not Blow Me Away ...

This was my first time trying Thai Cafe in Burnaby and I must say, it was nothing to shout about. We ordered take-out and to be fair, ate it about an hour after sitting out in room temperature. However, it was also my first time trying 'Yum Talay', a mixed seafood combination salad with a spicy lime sauce which was both refreshing and delicious! I would definitely recommend this dish!

Next of course we had to have the Pad Thai with prawns which to me, tastes pretty much the same at any Thai restaurant - a staple in Thai cuisine.

For the appetizers we each got to try a spring roll and chicken satay. The spring roll was pretty generic and the chicken satays were a bit thin and dry but you gotta love that side of peanut sauce! Smeared on top of your rice, mmMMmm! We also had a green curry chicken dish which was also quite nice. A rather mediocre meal but it filled us up and I would give this restaurant another whirl!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Love Leftover Food Fillings for Duo Purposes!

My favorite thing about having my mom's homemade 'water cake' is the excess amount of filling she makes! It usually equates to another meal that same week of the above dish! Sheets of rice flour noodles are cut up into squares and neatly rolled into bundles of goodness bursting with flavor in every bite! Again, the filling is comprised of shrimp, pork, broccoli stems, Chinese fungi and onions! Dipped in my dad's 'famous fish sauce' of course, steamed and served with slices of Vietnamese ham and fried onions atop - scrumptious!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

So This Is What Persian Food Heaven Is Like...

Wow, look at that beautifully plated meal, made by the just-as-beautiful MA. =) My first home-cooked Persian meal (sabzi polo ba with mahi) in patio paradise.

Here you see MA's perfectly cooked salmon with the crispiest edges I have ever crunched on. This Atlantic salmon was covered in Persian spices Somag, Golpar, alongside herbs, salt and pepper, garlic and freshly squeezed lemon. Sent straight to the oven at 450 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes and out comes a tender and moist fish that melts in your mouth.

Ohh la la! This herb infused basmati rice was a great pairing with the salmon. Included was dill, parsley, cilantro, vegetable oil and salt. The crispy coating of the rice, tadeek, is the best part! (When cooking Chinese rice, we call it 'fan jew', lol). SO FREAKING DELICIOUS.

And of course, the greens! MA's lovely mixed green salad with chunks of avacado (my favorite!) and tomatoes. Her home made dressing which you can see in the above pictures is made with mayo, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper. Refreshing and super tasty! What a delight! I was definitely in food heaven this day. =)

I also have to add that I was so fascinated by her kitchen's modern gadgets! (Modern to me, anyway). On the left is the tea bag scooper and drainer and on the right, a grind for fresh lemon juice! I just love using kitchen tools for every job possible!

Oh and of course her two-tiered dish drying rack - brilliant!! Thanks again MA, for an amazing meal topped off with our favorite reggae jams and relaxing patio time. You're the best!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Weekend Quick Bites

The snack that needs no description - Smartfood popcorn, white cheddar flavor. Chowed down on two bags this weekend, the second time on a bright sunny day at Deep Cove. Nothing could be better! Oh wait, we were also listening to old school R&B music, so it DID get better!

My not so healthy (but do I ever care?) but quick lunch! Seafood instant noodles cup (sure reminds me of the good ol' high school days from Temp Mart) and my parent's leftover dim sum, steamed shrimp paste in eggplant dish - yummy! There's something about all that MSG that is just so damn good, but watch out, you will be extra thirsty after.

Friday, May 14, 2010

TGIF - Because I Got To Eat Chicken Rice!

No joke when I say that I waited all week to eat this delicious chicken rice made by the one and only SC's momma. This popular Malaysian dish is the perfect way to end a long work week, recuperating from Mexico withdrawal. Mark my words, I will one day be in this woman's kitchen learning how to make this dish - it's so fresh and tasty! Complimenting SC's dish was my three cheese tortellini pasta with marinara sauce, sweet potatoes and zucchini. And of course, our daily sliced cucumber with the Poppy Seed Dressing from Kraft. Yummy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mouthwatering Mango

Hands down, my favorite fruit. Especially in the hot summer time. I love slicing it up, cutting cubes and flipping them outwards for consumption. Yum! The only downside is that the mango strings often get stuck in between your teeth so it's good to have some floss on hand. Or in my friend MA's case, a strand of hair will do! LOL.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Round 2 at The Keg!

As you can clearly see, I really quite enjoy The Keg. My 2nd Keg experience in a week was due to my sister MP lucking out and winning her hockey pool = dinner for the family! I had this meal literally hours before I boarded my flight to Mexico and it was a GREAT farewell. I opted for my all time favorite dish at The Keg, The Teryaki Classic. I usually start it off with the classic Keg Caesar salad but I recently found out that you can substitute it for this summer salad boasting of mandarin oranges, spinach, cranberries, pecans and my favorite, goat cheese. mmMMmm!

For my entree, I had the teryaki steak cooked medium rare with a baked potato (with the 3 cheese topping). Yummy, it never fails to satisfy me. And for some reason, I REALLY LOVED their vegetables this day - the seasoning was so tasty!

MP took a chance and ordered off their feature Crab Celebration menu - the Mushroom Crab sirloin. The horseradish was not favourable to our tongues but we just can't get enough of those juicy mushrooms!

A family Keg experience wouldn't be the same without JC indulging in a Billy Miner Pie. (He had to share this slice with us but he usually has one on his own and devours within 1 minute, tops!) Yummy coffee ice cream with drizzles of caramel and chocolate sauce, coated with almonds, sitting on a chocolate crust - perfect way to end the meal.

But the real finish is the notorious Keg mint. With a surprise chocolate filling in the middle. Who thought of that? AMAZING IDEA!!! Btw, I freaking love the camera on my new Blackberry Bold 9700 - it's super handy and takes great shots, hence the ones taken here!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Drowning our Canucks Sorrows in Delicious Desserts

While screaming and shouting for the Canucks to try and redeem themselves after a pitiful score against the Hawks, my friends and I regained sanity with sugar and berries. You might recognize this treat from an earlier post - this is just the gigantic version. The famous fruit flan from Urban Fare. It was a special celebration of the birth dates of two of my piggy friends, JV and PY. And a third piggy was there, the host DC. Seriously, please go out and try this dessert. The best part is the secret layer of white chocolate between the white cream filling and perfect pie crust. For some reason, the mini versions are 'fruit tarts' but the larger pie is referred to as 'fruit flan'. Weird.
I also had to include pictures of this cutely packaged and scrumptious looking homemade S'more from Butter Baked Goods. I can't personally review this dessert because the birthday girls wouldn't open to share. =( However, I am sure it tasted as divine as it looked. Apparently, Butter's 'Homemade Oreo' made it on Van Mag's Best Things to Eat and Drink in Vancouver 2009 list.

Oh and I also have to give a quick shout out to my fellow foodie/piggy cousin JV and her food blog: Foodmatik! Check it out - she is definitely the go-to-girl for restaurant recommendations!